Despite the efforts made, the debt of Nîmes Métropole remains a concerning situation, as stated by the Regional Chamber of Accounts.

His report was presented on Monday evening at the council of the urban community. The interpretations between the majority and the opposition differ.

Dans un document de plus de 70 pages, la chambre régionale des comptes (CRC) a délivré son rapport sur la gestion de la communauté d’agglomération de Nîmes qui a été soumis ce lundi soir au conseil d’Agglo.

This report focuses on the years 2019 to 2021, which span between the presidency of Yvan Lachaud (2014-2020) and Franck Proust (since 2020). It is structured around three main areas: the follow-up of the previous audit (2014-2018), the financial situation, and airport management.

Dette élevée mais stable

Following a previous report that highlighted a debt level « 50% higher than the regional average », the CRC emphasizes that in the new period, « the quality of account management is improving » even though the debt remains « concerning ». However, it insists on the need to include the Gemapi and airport files in these accounts and the debts associated with them (€19M for Gemapi and €3M for the airport to date).

After reaching a level of €476.8 million in 2020, the debt of Nîmes Métropole (management account) slightly decreased in 2021. At the same time, revenues increased, resulting in improved self-financing capacity.

Today, the debt remains at a high but stable level, around €461 million (€483 million if Gemapi and the airport are included). « The debt ratio, however, has decreased to 9.8 years, whereas it was above 10, » emphasizes Bernard Baumelou, chief of staff. He insists on « significant efforts » implemented regarding operating expenses, starting with personnel: 58 full-time equivalent positions have been eliminated since July 2020.

The CRC emphasizes that since the end of 2020, community action has been focused on four strategic areas: transportation and mobility, economic development, security of property and individuals, and ecological transition and sustainable development. It recommends a number of recommendations specific to the management of the city – maintaining a level of debt appropriate to the real financing and investment needs – and to that of the airport (we will come back to it).

Yvan Lachaud criticizes « the use of unused loans. »

During the council meeting on Monday evening, the oppositions presented their interpretations of the same report. According to Sylvette Fayet (PC), « the CRC highlights the management choices that we have criticized. In 2020, you took out more loans than necessary to build up working capital. We do not agree with your interpretation of the decrease in debt, which had been artificially inflated in 2020. »

Yvan Lachaud, former president of Nîmes Métropole and member of Horizons, emphasized that « the CRC notes that you have committed to creating new taxes » and criticized the « use of unused loans, dormant money. » He also criticized the lack of investment policy.

Finally, Laurence Gardet emphasized for the RN: « Nîmes Métropole is one of the most indebted EPCIs in France, nothing to be proud of. »

La prudence d’Eddy Valadier

Following the oppositions, several mayors spoke. Including the mayor of Saint-Gilles, Eddy Valadier: « Our EPCI remains in recovery. We will have to adapt our multi-year investment plan for years to come. Any weakness on our part in terms of expenditure or revenue will inevitably put our users in difficulty. »

Franck Proust a conclu par un long discours prenant à plusieurs reprises Yvan Lachaud à partie. Le groupe de ce dernier, choqué par le ton utilisé, a demandé une suspension de séance.

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